All Posts tagged wellness

Exercise for your brain?! Heck, yeah!

By Dr. Lindsay Grieve, DC

Becoming a mom has been such a life-changing experience for myself. As a “modern-day” mom I try to be a variety of things for my son: role model, health advocate, provide a loving & nurturing environment and help my son grow up and develop into the person he was meant to be. Oh and did I say fun? I want to do all of the above and also be remembered as the “fun mom”….am I asking for too much?

With all those objectives in mind I make an effort to prepare healthy meals, incorporate fun activities, play dates, get him to bed in a timely manner, teach him to move his body, challenge his mind and exercise his brain. Yes you read that right, exercise his brain!

There is so much growth and development that happens in a child’s first year of life. By the age of 1, the brain grows 2.5-3x it’s size from birth. 1,000 to 100,000 brain synapses are formed in the first year of life alone. By the age of 2, the brain reaches 80-90% of it’s adult volume. And by the age of 6, they have formed almost all of the major sensory and motor pathways they will need for their entire adult life. That is an immense amount of growth and development in a short amount of time! There are a lot of things, particularly in modern-day, that can interfere or hinder a child’s normal growth and development: birth trauma, skipping milestones (ex: going from sitting straight to walking, missing the crawling stage), overuse of “screen-time” (iPad, computer, cell phone, video games, TV, etc), lack of movement and stress.

Did you know movement and brain function are inter-related? A large study conducted in California assessed 1 million students over a 10 year period and found that just 20 minutes of walking improved a child’s ability to concentrate and improved their overall performance on an academic test. Movement and cognition happen in the same parts of the brain and use the same pathways. Our ability to think, control our emotions, pay attention, understand math, learn to spell and use language are all related to our body’s ability to move well.

What if I told you that you can help stimulate your child’s brain by doing specific exercises? When we practice movement patterns we build nerve pathways and establish connections in the brain.  A study was conducted in 2003 that looked at the effect of 6 months of brain-coordination exercises on kids with learning difficulties. The children who were in the exercise group had significant improvements in reading, writing & comprehension, dexterity and speech fluency.  When they followed up with those kids 4 years later the children had still maintained those same improvements….it’s long lasting!

Tonight try these 3 brain stimulating exercises with your little ones. (Some of the exercises may be challenging at first but the exciting thing is, the brain will catch on.) Get down on the floor with your kids and and make it a fun activity.  My son has a blast doing them and some of the exercises are even challenging for me too! We aim to do the exercises every other day.

Log Rolls: great for stimulating the vestibular area of the brain.

Have your child lay on their stomach with their arms out overhead. Keep the body straight and try and encourage them to use their abdominal muscles to slowly roll onto their back. Continue rolling back and forth and work up to 12 rolls to each side.

Inch worms: Great for increasing central muscle tone and overall increasing stimulation to the whole brain. This exercise incorporates cross-body movement which connects the two halves of the brain.

Have you child lay on their back on the floor with their arms at their side, knees bent and their feet flat on the floor. Instruct them to roll one shoulder up and backwards well pushing a little with their feet. This will drag and push the body along the floor. Then roll up the opposite shoulder and do the same.  Continue the exercise for 2 minutes.

CrossCrawling: This is great for integrating the left and right sides of the brain. All actives of the brain require input from both sides of the brain and this movement is essential for optimal brain function for all forms of learning: Reading, thinking, math behaviour, emotional control and planning. Cross-crawling is also essential for training the eyes to cross the midline and for the eyes to focus and track.

Get on your hands and knees. Move the opposite arm and leg forward at the same time. Try to focus on your hands when you do this exercise. Continue for 60 seconds.

For more information and video demonstrations of the above exercises, check out Dr. Lindsay Grieve’s website and blog: www.drlindsaygrieve.com

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Welcome Back Fall!

As the temperatures begin to cool and our schedules begin to look hectic, we can all succumb to that first seasonal cold.  Cold and Flu season may not be here yet, but we know that it is on its way!

We at Thrive wanted to give your immune system a little boost by giving you some ideas on what you can incorporate into your diet that might help you fight off those nasty germs.

Immune Boosting Foods:

Garlic
Add some garlic to your dishes and not only enhance the flavours of your foods, but also allow your white-blood cells (aka. The Cold Fighters), to flourish and increases the efficiency of antibody production.  This means your body is able to fight off any virus more easily, and makes the long cold and flu season a bit shorter.  Have trouble digesting garlic?  Try taking out the green root in the centre of each clove to make those garlic burps a bit less potent.
Citrus
Lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges- you name it- if it’s a citrus, it has Vitamin C.  Increasing your Vitamin C intake naturally increases your immune efficiency, which is exactly what we need for this time of year.  If you need an easy way to add a bit more Vitamin C into your diet, as well as help increase your water intake, try adding lemon to your morning glass of water.  Not only do you instantly have flavoured water, you start off your day right with a bit of Vitamin C!
Turmeric
Have you been noticing this spice everywhere these days?  Us too!  But for good reason- turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and more recent studies show that it also might be good for reducing fever.  So drink up those Turmeric lattes and eat up some Indian curries and you may be helping your health!
 Bell Peppers
These beauties have twice the amount of Vitamin C as citrus, and the added bonus of beta-carotene which is great for healthy skin.  Add some to your stir fry or simply eat as a snack with hummus (perhaps garlic hummus?) and your body will thank you!
Ginger
Ginger works in the same way as Vitamin C and can help you avoid a cold.  It can also help if you are just starting a cold by relieving your sore throat. Feel a tingle in your throat?  Boil some ginger and lemon to make a natural tea that soothes the throat and boosts your immune system.  Add a bit of honey and you have a sure fire way of fighting those cold systems.
For an easy way to combine some of these great immune-boosting ingredients (and some not mentioned here), check out this Turmeric Pineapple Kiwi and Kale recipe:


Ingredients:
2 cups frozen pineapple
¾ cups unsweetened almond milk
½ tsp turmeric
2 kiwis
1 banana
2 cups Kale

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

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2018 Consumer Choice Award!

Thrive is thrilled to announce that it has been selected as the 2018 Consumer Choice Award winner in the category of Naturopathic Medicine in the Toronto Central Region!

It has always been Dr. Kristin Heins’ mission to provide individualized and holistic care where her patients receive truly specialized treatments that support both their mental and physical well-being. Dr. Heins is extremely grateful to be recognized for her work and will continue to provide current and future patients with optimal care to help them feel their absolute best.

Thank you from the entire team here at Thrive for this incredible honour!

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Cleaning up our Intake through the Indulgent Summer

Summertime carries with it an energy of excitement, enjoyment and freedom. The days are longer, the weather inviting. For many, we translate this energy into a lifestyle that includes more barbeques, social events, alcohol and often less nutritious food choices. With so few months to enjoy social time comfortably outside with friends, I think switching our mindset from “avoidance” to “improved” is a great way to approach food and alcohol consumption this summer. Many patients come in and ask how to make reasonable improvements to their summer routines and so decided to share a few tips and suggestions in this month’s newsletter:
•    Loading up on creamy side dishes and red meat barbeque is not great for heart health or our waistline. Opt instead to grill vegetables on the bbq and experiment with salmon and fish recipes that cook in a flash and are part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
•    Alcohol intake is typically a calorie exploder in the summer. Try and clean up your drinking, to the extent this can be true, by using clear alcohol (vodka, gin, tequila) and mixing with low sugar and low sodium options like soda stream water with lemon and lime slices or low sodium San Pellegrino. Remember also that most beer and many vodkas are wheat-based …. so if this is a food group you try and avoid in food form it is typically best avoided as an alcohol also.
•    Most of us are more social in the summer. Try making socializing and connecting with family and friends the “treat” and not use social events as a reason to have two plates of dessert.
•    Bring nutritious and seasonal fruits and vegetables to parties or have them out at your own! Opting to pick at these as snacks between meals is a great way to fill the urge while also being good to your body.

A Word on Blood Services and Our Community:

Many of us know that donating blood can save lives. Medical advancements make it so that today, a number of blood related diseases like leukemia, aplastic anemia, certain metabolic disorders and inherited immune system diseases can also be treated with donated stem cells.
In September, Thrive has decided to have information available at the clinic for patients looking to learn more about donating blood services. We want to offer patients more detailed information on steps and facts about blood donation and registering to be stem cell donor. Keep your eyes and ears open and don’t forget to pick up your fact sheet when in the clinic.
If you want more information today, start by checking out www.blood.ca

By: Dr. Kristin Heins ND, RP (qualifying)

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Allergies – Why They Happen and How You Can Help Stop Them

I wanted to share an article on allergies as many this time of year suffer seasonal allergy symptoms. At a fun time of year to enjoy the outdoors, no one wants to be overwhelmed with congestion and low energy!!
Allergies occur when the body mounts an immune system response to substances inhaled or ingested from the environment. For allergy sufferers, these substances (called allergens) enter the body and then the body sends out an immune particle (called an immunoglobulin)  to  attack the foreign substance! An inflammatory cascade is then set in motion. For allergy sufferers, the rest is known and seen through their symptoms!

Common Allergy Symptoms:
Runny nose, runny and / or itchy eyes, sinus inflammation and headaches, generalized fatigue, shortness of breath, asthma.  Skin conditions can include rashes or darkening around the eyes “allergic shiner” is also common. For some ingested allergens we can have anaphylaxis or severe swelling in the throat, hives and for less severe sensitivities you may have indigestion, gas, cramping or bowel changes (not considered an allergy but still a cause of immune response).
What we also now know is that allergen / immune complex binding can have mood and brain involvement causing symptoms like agitation, irritability and / or depression.
Allergy Triad: allergies, asthma, eczema – all signs of a hyper responsiveness of the immune system.

Tip #1: Eat Plenty of foods rich in antioxidants as well as minerals essential to the immune system.

  • Oxidation increases as our body fights off germs. Help offset this reaction with antioxidant foods.
  • Foods containing beta- carotene, including dark green, yellow, and orange vegetables. Eat at least two servings of one or more of these vegetables daily.
  • Vegetables and fruits that contain vitamin C, such as broccoli, green/red peppers, cabbage, collard greens, and citrus fruits. Eat at least one-2 servings daily. Vitamin C is especially important for those with allergies as vitamin C plays a major role in modulating the histamine response which plays a major role in allergic congestion and skin irritation.
  • Foods containing vitamin E, especially seeds and nuts, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and beans.
Tip #2: Reduce Allergen exposure by using a salt water (saline) nasal rinse daily during allergy season.
Tip #3: See a specialist to devise an individualized plan to optimize your immune functionality and support organs of elimination (liver, bowel, lymph, kidneys) that may be under functioning. Dr. Heins or a licensed Naturopathic Doctor can customize a supplement approach based on your specific symptoms and allergy (immune) presentation.
Written by: Dr. Kristin Heins, ND
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We now offer osteopathy!

Just a reminder that Thrive now has an osteopath, Marine Burkhardt!

Marine received her DOMP (Diploma of Osteopathy Manual Practitioner) from the Osteopathic College of Provence (COP) in France in 2017 after a 5 year training period.

She has a holistic approach to Osteopathy and adapts her treatment according to the patients unique needs. She practices visceral, cranio-sacral therapy and various joint techniques.

She has a special interest in care for children, newborns and pregnant women. Her graduation thesis studied postnatal treatment of mothers with breastfeeding issues. In her studies, she practiced cranial techniques with the goal of impacting lactation hormones to stimulate and regulate milk production. Very promising results were visible during these studies, which encouraged her to further pursue investigation of these techniques.

The range of her techniques is beneficial to all kind of patients.  As an osteopath, she treats athletes who train and need maintenance care on a regular basis or are recovering from injuries.  Her techniques are also very helpful in stress-management and various physical conditions, including chronic headaches.

She will welcome you in French and in English.

Her hours are as follows:

Tuesdays 8:30am-2pm
Wednesdays 8:30am-12pm, 3:30pm-7pm
Fridays 8:30am-5pm

You can book your initial appointment online or call the office at 647-352-7911.

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Staying Pain Free During Summer Activity

By Dr. Kristin Heins
 
Summer weather allows us all to  spend more time outdoors. We are encouraged to increase outdoor activity and many of us prefer to take in some time outdoors while being active anyway. With increased walking, running, hiking or swimming you may end up with new injuries or even aggravating old injuries or conditions.

It is always best to see a licensed health care practitioner to attend to your case specifics and format an individualized plan; but, below are some quick tips to help you make the most of the increased activity potential that summer affords while reducing the chance of injury or body strain.

  1. Know your limits: gradually increase endurance activities and take rest days after increased exertion.
  2. Stretch: Be sure to follow a stretching routine that addresses targeted areas to help prevent strain injuries.
  3. Attend to your symptoms: If your body is sending you messages it is hurt – listen. See your doctor, naturopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor to have an assessment to see what needs to be done to best heal and resolve the issue.
  4. Stay hydrated: Lactic acid builds in muscles after exertion and causes stiffness and soreness. It requires proper hydration to be best eliminated so make sure to drink before and after activity.
  5. Supplementation: If you have inflammatory conditions it may be useful to get on a supplementation regime to assist in optimizing you management of it. This way you can stay as active as possible in a non detrimental way.
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Practice Safe Gardening

Dr. Jennifer Wise, D.C.

300_family_garden

I know it’s been a long time since we’ve thought about many outdoor activities, but the exciting truth is that it’s finally almost time for those “May flowers”!  If you’re planning on gardening, keep these tips in mind to avoid injury:

1. Warm-up

Try going on a short walk to loosen up your muscles and get your blood circulating before beginning gardening.

2. Stretch before and after your gardening session.

The Ontario Chiropractic Association recommends starting with these stretches to avoid injury.  Hold all stretches for 15 to 20 seconds. Stop if it is painful.

  • Thigh Stretch: With one hand on the wall or a tree, bend your left knee then reach back and hold your ankle with your right hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks and hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat with the other leg. To stretch the back thigh muscles (hamstrings), with one hand on the wall or a tree put one foot on a chair, stump, or step. Slowly bend forward from the waist until you feel the pull at the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat with the other leg.
  • Back Stretch: Sit on a chair and slowly bend your body forward from your hips, putting your head down and resting your hands on the floor.  Hold, then relax.
  • Shoulder Rolls:
    With your arms hanging loosely at your sides, slowly rotate your shoulders in a circular motion forward, then backward.
  • Wrist Extension: Hold one arm straight out as if you were giving a ‘stop’ signal, use your opposite hand to hold this position. Hold. Repeat with the other hand.
  • Wrist Flexion: Hold one arm out in front, palm down. Bend your fingers until they point toward the ground. Use your opposite hand to hold this position.

3. Lift with Care.

For any heavy lifting always try to recruit some help.  If you must lift alone, please remember these basic rules:

  1. Stand close to the load to be lifted
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart
  3. Keep your back straight
  4. Squat down to the object’s level and test the weight of the load
  5. Use the strength of your leg and arm muscles to smoothly and slowly lift the load
  6. Keep the load close to your body
  7. Pivot to turn and face the intended direction of travel. Proceed with the load
  8. Avoid twisting your body while carrying the load
  9. Bend your knees and slowly lower the load to its intended place

Remember to have your spine checked by your chiropractor- you may not always feel a subluxation, but if you are starting with a spine that is misaligned or not moving properly, you will be much more likely to experience an injury.  Come in and see Dr. Wise for a Spring tune-up

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How to Manage High Stress Periods…Like the Holidays!!

By Dr. Kristin Heins

I came across an article on the Mayo Clinic website (www.mayoclinic.org) on stress management around the holidays and really liked it. It may be especially helpful during the hectic and emotion-filled holiday season; but, is also a useful life approach to stress management. Most of us know that stress and feeling overwhelmed does not limit itself to holidays!! When stress is at it’s peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. The feeling is often one of overwhelm vs. support. Below are ten ways to try and shift the balance back to a more supportive experience:

headache1. Acknowledge your feelings: If historical or present day loss and sadness exist, accept that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings.

2. Reach out: If you feel lonely or isolated – seek out community, faith-based or other social events as they can offer support and companionship. Volunteering may also lift your spirits and broaden friendships.

3. Be realistic: The holidays may not (likely won’t) be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if adult-children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails, videos, skyping.

4. Set aside differences: Set aside familial grievances during gatherings until a more appropriate time for discussion. Try and find understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry – chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress just like you may be.

5. Stick to a budget: Before you shop, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Ways to manage budgets:

  • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Start a family gift exchange

6. Plan ahead: Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. Ask for support for party prep and cleanup.

7. Setting Limits: Saying yes when you want to say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. If you can’t participate in a project or activity, try and be clear about which ones you can say no to and take that time for other activities like rest and self -care.

8. Keep healthy habits: 

  • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets or drinks.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day as it helps with both physical and emotional wellbeing.

9. Take a breather: Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slows your breathing and restores inner calm.

10. Seek professional help if you need it: Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, seek help from a professional.

I hope that this helps make the holidays more enjoyable for you and yours. Happy Holidays!

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Introducing: Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

By Amy Gildner

What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a holistic healthcare profession that aims to help those affected by injury, illness or disability.  Physiotherapists specialize in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of a variety of neurological, orthopedic, and cardiorespiratory conditions.  In Ontario, individuals can see physiotherapists without a doctor’s referral.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is the assessment and treatment of various conditions including, but not limited to, conditions of the muscles, bones, connective tissues, and ligaments surrounding the pelvis.  This is a specialty within the physiotherapy profession, and is conducted by registered physiotherapists who have also undergone further education.

A typical initial appointment will include a detailed internal and external examination of your pelvis, a discussion of the findings as well as a possible treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs.  This treatment may include additional internal pelvic floor therapy, bladder retraining, stretching, and strengthening techniques.

Why is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy so important?

As women, our bodies can end up going through a lot. In addition to the maintenance of overall health and strength, pelvic floor health is equally as important, especially pre- & postpartum. Some conditions that can be treated through pelvic floor physiotherapy include:

  • Vaginal pain
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Low back pain
  • Sacroiliac pain
  • Piriformis syndrome/sciatica

Contact the clinic to find out more information!

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